A woman who suffered brain damage when she was run over by a mentally ill felon in downtown Tacoma is suing the psychiatrist who treated the offender.
Kathie Larson filed the personal injury lawsuit against Dr. Julie Farrington in Pierce County Superior Court this week.
Larson claims Farrington didn’t do enough to treat Aiyisha Gillespie and failed to notify state corrections officials when Gillespie’s mental health deteriorated.
Attempts to reach Farrington for comment were unsuccessful Tuesday.
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Gillespie, who has a history of mental illness, intentionally ran Larson over in a stolen car in June 2008 in what appeared to be a random attack. Gillespie, 31, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault and other charges in September and was sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison.
Gillespie was on a conditional release from prison at the time she hit Larson.
Larson, who suffered a head injury and other trauma, sued the state Department of Corrections for negligently supervising Gillespie. The agency settled the case out of court in August for $4.25 million.
Larson’s suit against Farrington contends the Gig Harbor psychiatrist “utterly failed” to ensure Gillespie was not dangerous to be on the streets.
Gillespie’s father hired Farrington, a private provider, to treat his daughter when she was released from prison after serving time for assault, the lawsuit states.
A judge required Gillespie to seek mental health treatment as part of the conditions of her release.
The lawsuit contends a state community corrections officer con- tacted Farrington shortly thereafter, and the psychiatrist “agreed to communicate ... regarding Gillespie’s compliance or lack of her compliance with her parole conditions.”
Farrington prescribed and recommended several mood stabilizers and antipsychotic drugs to Gillespie but noted her patient apparently was not taking them, Larson’s lawsuit states.
“Dr. Farrington accepted the responsibility of treating a mentally ill patient who had a history of attacking strangers during psychotic breaks but undertook insufficient measures ... to reduce or maintain the level of Aiyisha Gillespie’s risk to the community,” the suit states.
Farrington also failed to inform corrections officers that Gillespie “posed an increasing threat to public safety” when her mental health deteriorated, the suits states.
“Dr. Farrington knew or should have known that Aiyisha Gillespie’s failure to take medications prescribed by Farrington was noncompliance and therefore a violation of her probation,” the lawsuit states.